Yesterday at the cinema I was transported back to almost thirty years ago to when I worked at the experimental art foundation in Adelaide, South Australia where I met and worked with a remarkable group of people from Broome, Western Australia. I had gone to see the film Bran Nue Dae.

                 Ernie Dingo as Uncle Tadpole

The official web site tells the story - “Bran Nue Dae has a long and influential history in Australia: first as a collection of iconic songs, then as a stage musical that toured Australia in the early 1990’s charming audiences wherever it played.
Set in the summer of 1969, the story of Bran Nue Dae was inspired by the teenage experiences of writer and musician Jimmy Chi and the members of the band kuckles - Patrick Duttoo Bin Amat, Garry Gower, Michael Manolis Mavromatis and Stephen Pigram - who grew up in the tropical seaside port of Broome on Australia’s west coast….”

I was privileged to meet and work closely with the Broome Aboriginal Arts Group and Jimmy Chi when they were artists-in-residence at the E.A.F. in 1981. Members of the band ‘kuckles’ were concurrently studying at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music in Adelaide. Here, Jimmy and the band made the first recordings of the songs that have continued to be sung and performed for three decades now.

For me, the experience of working with the Broome people was a very positive one. And yesterday I felt happily moved by the film so I began looking around in my cupboards for remnants of those days. If you’re interested, you’ll have to click on the scans of articles here in order to read them. My apologies for the low tech..

  note by David Kerr, eaf Director, in 'A Decade at the E.A.F. 1974-1984', edited by   Stephanie Britton

            my article in 'Art Network', issue 3/4, 1981, edited by Ross Wolfe

Here's to Jimmy Chi, Kuckles, The Pigram Brothers, Geoff Buchan, Jane Sindel, the EAF and the film director Rachel Perkins and the cast and crew of Bran Nue Dae!


Gazza said...

Hiya Pam...Gazza here (Kuckle drummer!) great to read your write up and view the ole tape & stories etc! I was only talking to Glennie (Jimmies darling-darling!)yesterday and she said the Milly tape is going to be re released very soon! Was really nice meeting people like you way back then. You made us feel most welcome and still today to feel your connection & support is awesome. Catchya. Cheers, Gazza Gower

pb said...

Hi Gazza,

Great to hear from you. And amazing - the good old w w w.

Maybe I should have said more on the blog about the terrific screen-printed fabrics and the visual art that everyone brought down from Broome to Adelaide back then. It was really beautiful work.

Hope you're thriving,

Beth Spencer said...

I loved loved loved Bran Nue Dae when I saw it as a play at the Seymour Centre years ago. And had to tape too (since lost). Thanks for all this info and looking forward to seeing the film. xb